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Future bright for scholars bowl teams

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

This should make Cheryl Shepherd-Adams and Don Hageman smile.

Those are the scholars bowl coaches at the two local high schools in Hays -- Shepherd-Adams heading up a resurgence of the Hays High School program and Hageman the longtime leader of the program at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, winners of state championships two of the past three years.

If Tuesday's performances by the two junior high programs are any indication, the high school teams can look forward to success for years to come.

Some schools call junior high and middle school programs quiz bowl. Others follow the high school version of scholars bowl.

No matter what they are called, the young local squads are making a name for themselves.

Hays Middle School won the eighth-grade division of Tuesday's TMP meet with a perfect 9-0 record, while TMP -- which added junior high classes for seventh- and eighth-graders for the first time this year -- was second with a 7-2 mark. Both schools also placed in the top three of the 10-team meet in the seventh-grade division, HMS finishing second at 8-1 and TMP third at 6-3.

The second round in the eighth-grade division pitted former teammates against each other, with some students from both teams having been on last year's seventh-grade team at Kennedy Middle School, which closed in May.

Coincidentally, the coaches of the two local squads also are former Kennedy teachers.

Carol Brull, now a teacher at TMP Junior High, taught at Kennedy in the late 1990s and was in charge of the school's quiz bowl team. This year's HMS coach, Mary Jo Chambers, was Kennedy's coach last year.

Both Brull and Chambers and their teams have enjoyed success early this season. HMS won the eighth-grade division of the Scott City meet last Monday, while TMP's eighth-graders finished second and the seventh-graders were fourth at their season opener at Colby.

Chambers has solid numbers at HMS with approximately a half dozen students from each of the seventh- and eighth-grade classes, along with two sixth-graders, making up the team. And Brull, who has seven eighth-graders on the team, has so many seventh-graders (12), she has to rotate them in from meet to meet.

"This is a brand-new thing for all the seventh-graders, so to do this well this early is good," Brull said.

Brull, after running a meet for the first time, said Tuesday was good preparation for the Junior Mid-Central Activities Association meet, which is scheduled for Feb. 14 at TMP.

With the closing of Kennedy, TMP took Kennedy's place in the JMCAA league, and this happened to be Kennedy's year in the rotation to host the league meet.

* * *

Thomas More Prep-Marian High School's scholars bowl team won the title of the Phillipsburg meet Tuesday in a tiebreaker in the championship match with archrival Norton, while Hays High went 3-3 in pool play and didn't make the finals.

It was the fourth consecutive top-two performance this season for the Monarchs, whose next action will be Monday at Norton.

Not only do the Monarchs and Bluejays have a chance to meet again at the Norton meet, but they also will be two of the top teams at the Class 3A regional tournament at Russell on Jan. 31, along with host Russell, which placed third at Phillipsburg. Hays High's next action also will be at Norton.